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March 12, 2008 8:15 AM

Conestoga College Names Co-op Students and Employer of the Year

March 17-21 is National Co-op Week, recognizing the value and importance of co-operative education at Canada’s colleges and universities, and Conestoga College is marking the occasion by naming the recipients of its Co-op Student of the Year Award, as well as a Co-op Employer of the Year. The awards will be given at a special reception to mark National Co-op Week, on Wednesday, March 19 from 3-5 p.m. at the Blue Room of Conestoga’s Doon campus in Kitchener.

Pamala Healey, Natalie Halstead, Laura Martens & Mike Dinning

The purpose of the student awards is to celebrate the hard work and dedication that these outstanding co-op students have displayed during their work terms. From the first step of creating and perfecting their resumes, to the last step of the completion of their co-op employment, the amount of effort that goes into the co-op process each year is remarkable and praiseworthy.

In addition, Conestoga will present an award from Education at Work Ontario (EWO), a voluntary professional group representing colleges and universities, and which promotes and facilitates co-op education in service to students and employers. The EWO honour is for a combination of academic achievement, job achievement and contributions to furthering co-op education.

The employer award acknowledges not only the support and encouragement that co-op employers provide to students, but also the high quality of professionalism that co-op employers and supervisors bring to their role and their excellence in this important learning process.

The Co-op Student of the Year winners are Natalie Halstead and Laura Martens. The EWO Award goes to Robin Woods. The Co-op Employer of the Year is COM DEV International Ltd. of Cambridge.

Natalie Halstead recently completed the postgraduate Human Resources Management program. She has done co-op terms with Sanimax Marketing Ltd. in Guelph, where she is now employed. Sanimax is involved with the agri-food industry through development of environmental solutions involving conversion and reuse of byproducts. She has been involved with payroll systems, personnel recruiting, newsletter production, health and safety procedures, and employee training and professional development. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Grand Valley Human Resources Professional Association.

Laura Martens recently completed the degree-level Integrated Advanced Manufacturing Technologies program. Her final co-op experience was as a research assistant and quality control technician at Arrow Hose and Tubing Inc., a Guelph-based manufacturer of thermoplastic hose and tubing products, such as fuel hoses, chemical hoses and pool/spa hoses. Among her other duties, she worked independently on two research projects - one dealing with fuel lines, the other with adhesives. She earned high praise from her colleagues for thoroughness, insight and excellent communication skills. Martens has also been active in promoting her program of study to the community and was a winner of multiple program-related awards of achievement. She also gained honourable mention status in the national competition for co-op student of the year sponsored by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE).

Each winning Co-op Student of the Year will receive an award of $250.

Robin Woods, Ian Wallace & Geoff Linton

Robin Woods, winner of the provincial Employment at Work Ontario Award, is in the Business Administration - Marketing program. She has completed two co-op terms with Guelph-based Inbox Marketer Inc., a business that works to improve communication links and contacts between companies and clients via email publishing, database marketing, lead generation and Web search engine optimization. Among her assignments was working at Research In Motion (RIM) to manage email marketing workflow. In 2007, she won a gold medal in the retail category of the annual Ontario Colleges Marketing Competition. She also does volunteer work and marketing analysis for the Grand Philharmonic Choir. Woods also achieved honourable mention status in the national competition for co-op student of the year sponsored by CAFCE.

The EWO Award is $500.

COM DEV International is a long-time partner and supporter of Conestoga. The firm is the largest Canadian-based designer and manufacturer of space hardware subsystems. COM DEV has provided co-op learning opportunities to Conestoga students from a number of business and technology programs, and has won praise from these students for the relevance of the experience to their studies and for the excellent training and mentorship provided by COM DEV personnel. In addition, representatives of the company have assisted with in-class panels and presentations at Conestoga, and served with distinction on Conestoga Program Advisory Committees and on the College’s Board of Governors. COM DEV has also been supportive and generous to Conestoga in the form of donated funds and equipment, in furtherance of high-quality skills education.

Jeff Wiesel

Conestoga currently has more than 30 co-op programs available. These range from Culinary Management and Woodworking Technology, to Business Administration - Marketing and Human Resources Management, to Civil Engineering Technology and Computer Programmer/Analyst. Every four-year Conestoga degree program features co-op.

Co-operative education, which gives students the opportunity to work in paid employment related to their chosen fields of study, combining periods in college or university with real-world experiences and situations, has become a much-respected and highly valued form of practical higher education.

Other nominees from the School of Engineering and IT were Mike Amy, Samantha Jansen and Ryan Meier all from Architecture - Project and Facility Management; Anna Pekinasova and Rachel Pepping from Civil Engineering Technology and Robert Smith from Architecture - Construction Engineering Technology.

Nominees from the School of Business and Hospitality were Jacky Moore, Raylene MacNamara, Angela Leffler and Alicia Kallay from Business Administration - Marketing (Co-op); Mark Buncher from Human Resources Management and Kyle Mallett from Business Administration - Accounting (Co-op).

CONTACT: Lynne Kattenhorn, Co-op and Career Services, 519-748-5220, ext. 3219, lkattenhorn@conestogac.on.ca

Award Winners, Group Shot
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